Jason Whittaker


We send all orders via Royal Mail: within the UK, choose from 1st Class, 2nd Class or Special Delivery; for the rest of the world, International Standard or International Tracked. Delivery and packaging charges are calculated automatically at the checkout.

To collect orders in person from the Bookshop, choose Click and Collect at the checkout.

Oxford University Press
14 July 2022
ISBN: 9780192845870
272 pages

From the publisher

The stanzas beginning, 'And did those feet' are among the most famous works written by the Romantic poet and artist, William Blake. Set to music by Hubert Parry in 1916 and renamed, 'Jerusalem', this hymn has become an emblem of Englishness in the past century, and is regularly invoked at sporting events, public and private ceremonies, and, of course, as part of Last Night of the Proms. Yet when Blake first engraved his lines in his epic work, Milton a Poem, he had been tried for sedition. Likewise, although Parry was commissioned to compose his music as part of the war effort by the organization Fight for Right, he soon removed permission for that group to perform his hymn and instead gave the copyright to the women's suffrage movement. 'Jerusalem', then, is a much more contested vision of England's green and pleasant land than is often assumed. This book traces the history of the poem and the music from Blake's original verses, written in Felpham, via the turmoil of the First and Second World Wars, its recording history in the late twentieth century, and its use in political controversies such as the 2016 Brexit vote. An anthem for both the left and the right, Blake's own vision of what it meant to build Jerusalem in England is both strange and familiar to many who invoke it. As such, this book explores the deep complexities of what Englishness means into the twenty-first century.